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Russian Governor Murdered - 2002-10-18

The governor of Russia's Far Eastern region of Magadan has been shot and killed not far from the Kremlin, in what Moscow's police chief described as a "contract hit."

Valentin Tsvetkov was fatally shot in the head during morning rush hour Friday, after he got out of his car on one of the capital city's busiest streets.

Mr. Tsvetkov was accompanied by his wife and an aide; both of whom were unharmed.

Moscow's police chief, Vladimir Pronin, says the gunman escaped with the help of an accomplice who was waiting in a nearby car.

President Putin has ordered the prosecutor general and the interior minister to personally handle the Tsvetkov investigation.

Russian prosecutors recorded more than 300 contract killings last year, the vast majority of them targeting businessmen or officials linked with business schemes.